Explore Trip Ideas

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Find your next adventure with our quick lists of inspiring experiences.

Underwater Graveyards

For recreational wreck divers, here are several coastal locations and fresh-water lakes where historic shipwrecks loom beneath the surface and create an interesting underwater experience. From the Great Lakes to Guam and from the East Coast to West Coast, let us be your guide to explore America’s maritime history at these marine sanctuary and national park locations.

Popular Spring Break Locations

Spring break is treasured by students of all ages, whether they are in pre-school or working on a Ph.D. It’s a time for students to break away from their studies and for families to take advantage of a little down time.

Snowshoeing the Pacific Northwest

The peace and tranquility of a snowy day is best discovered when you can get outside and experience it. Wildlife, thickets of firs and pines, a frozen rivers’ edge—this is where the adventure begins! Experience it by strapping on a pair of snowshoes, packing a lunch and discovering the snow-covered trails of the Pacific Northwest.

Gliding and Bunking in Yellowstone

If your idea of waxing results in a smooth glide on top of a snowy trail, and a little slice of heaven is finding solitude in a rustic cabin in the woods, then let us be your winter guide in the Greater Yellowstone area—including Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. We have weaved together several high-quality cross-country ski trails, along with several Forest Service rental cabins, for your winter outdoor adventures.

Northeast Beaches

Enjoy our list of seven best beaches in the northeast along with the nearby federal lands you'll enjoy exploring. A little beach time, a little exploration and your visit to the northeast beaches will create lifetime memories.

Where Fossils Rock

There are a few special places on earth where conditions uniquely align to preserve fossils well enough to give us a window into the past and to help us understand what plants and animals were like long before humans existed. Join us on the fossil trail and learn for yourself what life was like for prehistoric plants and critters.

10 National Parks that May Surprise You

Thousands of visitors travel to national parks each year. The Blue Ridge Parkway and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area top the list for experiencing the most visitors; however there are many less visited national parks that offer gorgeous vistas and one-of-a-kind experiences.

World Heritage Sites in the United States

The World Heritage List managed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes 962 sites around the world deemed to have outstanding universal value. The United States is home to 21 World Heritage Sites located across the country.

Summer Fun at Lakes

There is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than cooling off in a lake. There are lakes scattered across the country that offer a variety of experiences to take the heat off when temperatures soar. Here is a list of more than a dozen lakes in just as many states that feature plenty of amenities to please everyone in the crowd, not to mention provide scenic backdrops to enhance your water experience.

National Historic and Scenic Trails

The National Trails System offers a tremendous variety of recreation, preservation, fitness and heritage opportunities. These trails are recognized by Congress for their crucial role in re-tracing American history and celebrating the natural beauty of the United States. There are 11 national scenic trails, 19 national historic trails and over 1,000 national recreation trails throughout the country. Together the 30 scenic and historic trails total nearly 60,000 miles.

Car Camping 101

Beginners can ease into the outdoors with car camping. Car camping allows you to haul your favorite creature comforts – coolers, lawn chairs, lanterns, board games, fishing poles, toys, etc., and pitch your tent right next to your car. Try car camping at one of these great campgrounds

Celebrate the Birth of Our Nation

Friends and families unite in communities and on public lands to celebrate the nation’s independence on Fourth of July. Enjoy this glimpse at some of the most iconic places in the U.S. and the celebrations planned for those who gather to participate.

Spring Mountain Biking

Winding through stands of aspens, leaves rustling in your wake. Gliding over slick rock as your bike responds to the elements. Descending quickly through the pines as you navigate smooth singletrack. Sound familiar? It’s that time of year; we emerge from our garage, skis having been stored until next winter, and our mountain bikes…well, they’re tuned and ready to roll

Wildlife and Bird Festivals

Picture a sky blanketed with birds erupting into flight, filling the air with calls and the sound of thousands of wings beating together. Do you want to know where to find wildlife and catch a glimpse of that rare bird you’ve had on your life list for years? For a fun, inexpensive way to find out more about birds and other wildlife, experience a wildlife or birding festival

Viewing Bears

Trying to get a glimpse of animals in their natural environment has always been a challenge for those of us unwilling to hang out in a tent for weeks at a time and eat trail mix. There are still many wild places where bears roam, but only a few places where an observer might reliably view a bold, beautiful bear

Marvel at Marine Mammals

There is something magical about sighting a pod of playful dolphins, a congregation of seals or sea lions, a majestic whale or a graceful manatee! If you want to view marine mammals this is your definitive list of must see places and animals. Marine Mammals Await

Whitewater That Takes You in Deep

There are only a handful of extended night white water river trips in the US. These trips allow you to truly get away from the day-to-day and experience the contrasting excitement and serenity of a river canyon. Because these trips limit the numbers of floaters to preserve the resource and the experience, it takes extra effort to meander through the permit process if you are planning a do-it-yourself vacation. The services of licensed outfitters and guides are also available on all of these rivers. Whitewater Adventures

California's Best Beaches

Perhaps there are as many songs written about California as there are grains of sand on the beaches there. Where does that inspiration come from? Witness the Golden State’s natural beauty firsthand and it’s hard to contain your awe. The 31st state is probably best known for her beaches from San Diego to the Oregon border. Here’s our list of California’s best beaches, and the federal lands and recreation opportunities that beckon you west. See why everyone loves the California sun

Day Hikes for Weekend Warriors

We define a "weekend warrior" as someone who must spend all week indoors, but gets outside and physical on the weekends! If you’re a weekend warrior, the perfect trail might be one that provides great scenery or even a physical challenge, yet is not too far from home. You’ll experience the solitude of wilderness, spot wildlife in a natural setting, feel the satisfaction of reaching a mountaintop or a secret fishing spot and still be home for supper! Discover these rejuvenating day hikes

Water Sports that make a Splash

Did you know the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the largest provider of water-based outdoor recreation in the nation, with 422 lake and river projects in 43 states? Sure, everyone knows about boating and fishing, but why not consider cooling off with a different kind of water sport like flat water paddling, whitewater rafting or even scuba diving? Check out some of these places to make a splash

Scout out Civil War Places and Events

The 150th Anniversary of the Civil War is an unparalleled time to discover, discuss, and commemorate America's greatest national crisis, and explore its relevance to today’s world. More than 70 national parks across the U.S. preserve sites and stories where this epic struggle took place from 1860 to 1865. Here are some historic sites and events worth seeing

Northern Lights

To watch the aurora borealis feels downright otherworldly. Shimmering and swirling, somewhere between smoke and paint, this glowing green phenomenon, though natural, creates a surreal experience for any viewer. But your chances of viewing the Northern Lights greatly increase the more north you travel - think: Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia. However, during a year when the aurora is particularly strong, you've actually got a shot at seeing this magical occurrence in the northernmost states of the lower 48. And though there are no guarantees, fall is the perfect time to try, with its dark skies and warm weather. Some scientists assert that the aurora ring is most active during the equinoxes (September 21 and March 21, approximately). Find nature's light show

Fall Colors

The New England States are famous for their fall colors, but just about every state - with the exception of Hawaii - has somewhere to view the golden colors of autumn. Even if you're in an area without many broadleaf trees, autumn is a great time to get outdoors! Enjoy a walk, a hike, or a bicycle or canoe trip in the apple-crisp air or take a scenic drive under sunny blue skies. The quality and angle of light around the fall equinox makes this a perfect time to take photographs. Vibrant Colors Await

Fall is the Time for Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is more than just another form of bicycling. It is off-road cycling using specialized bikes adapted for rough terrain. Mountain bikers often possess stamina, core strength, great balance, bike handling skills and self-reliance, since many trails are remote. You can mountain bike almost anywhere from a back yard to a gravel road, but we think you’ll agree that some of the best mountain bike trails are on federal public lands. Enjoy these exciting rides

Downhill Thrills: Ski and Snowboard Areas on National Forests

National Forests are a great place to enjoy the outdoors almost any time of year, but with 122 ski areas on National Forest lands, winter might just be the most exciting time! In addition to the thrill of alpine skiing and snowboarding, many forests offer opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, dog sledding or snowmobiling! Check out some of these places to add some excitement to your winter!

Tranquil Winter Escapes

In need of a winter getaway that’s more peaceful than daring? Would you choose a secluded forest trail over a popular black diamond run every time? Would spying a magnificent bald eagle make your winter weekend? Whether enjoying cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, or bird watching, if you prefer some “shush” with your snow, then you’ll like these calm winter adventures!

Holly Jolly Things to do for Yuletide

Wherever you may live, you can find holiday traditions, activities, and events on federal public lands near you. Enjoy this sampling of holiday festivities to get you into the yuletide swing of things. Holiday Happenings